The founder of the Roosevelt Island
A Living Library Think Park & Garden
passed away in August 2021.
Ms Sherk’s friends and colleagues invite you to:
Celebrate the Life of Bonnie Ora Sherk Wednesday, May 18th, 5:30 PM at
Roosevelt Island’s A Living Library Think Park & Garden (in the rear of
Roosevelt Island resident Matt Katz reported the sad new of Ms Sherk’s death.
According to Mr Katz:
Our friend and long-time colleague involved with the beautification of
Roosevelt Island, Bonnie Ora Sherk,
passed away in August at her home in San Francisco. While not a Roosevelt
Island resident, Bonnie had a second home in Manhattan and came to us over
twenty years ago on a $50,000 Ford Foundation grant.
Bonnie was a landscape architect with credentials in San Francisco and
around the world. Her early focus here was Southpoint Park which was slated
for major renovations, and Bonnie’s schematics for that task were printed in
The Main Street WIRE March 20, 2004
issue at the time. They included plans for a boathouse and launching site
for kayaks regrettably never built. The Trust for Public Land conducted its
own planning at the time, which would have included a make-over of the
Renwick Smallpox Hospital Ruin. RIOC rejected these innovative ideas and
produced our current, modest Southpoint Park.
Bonnie was the founder and director of Life Frames, Inc. the sponsor of
A Living Library (ALL)
whose mission was, “to transform derelict environments with systemically
integrated hands-on learning for all ages resulting in ecological,
place-based branch Living Library & Think Parks in diverse parts of the
world.” Her work has been displayed at the P.S. 1 gallery in Queens as well
as at the
Biennale in Milan, Italy.
Bonnie never received the municipal financial support in New York City that
supported her projects in San Francisco, but took advantage of the RIOC Public
Purpose Fund to continue creating projects, built with the sweat equity from
all sectors of our population. She turned her attention to the
PS/IS 217 schoolyard
where both children and adults labored to haul the soil and manure necessary
to transform the area under the hallway windows into a vegetable and flower
She planted an orchard of fruit trees on the west promenade school property,
tragically destroyed during major school renovations. There are still two
pin oaks, planted by the school kids, across Main Street from the school
Currently, A Living Library is represented by the garden
located between our new library building and Blackwell Park, now under
renovation. The park, under the leadership of
ALL Director China Bushell,
is maintained with the support of many residents, old and young, and you may
have joined the Trick or Treaters at that wonderfully (gruesomely?)
decorated crypt over Halloween.
Those of us who worked with Bonnie over the years miss her terribly. We know
how much she loved Roosevelt Island and Roosevelt Islanders. A memorial is
tentatively planned for next May, Bonnie’s birthday with a plaque to be
placed on one of the garden’s benches and a tree planted in her name. What
could be more appropriate?
Here’s a 2014 interview with Bonnie Ora Sherk describing her
A Living Library
life long project.
EcoArt Space has more on Bonnie Ora Sherk.
Contact Roosevelt Island Living Library Think Park & Garden manager China Bushell for more information.